Jade Phillips: I’ve been working in marketing for just over 3 years now and I’ve also been an athlete from the age of 15. So, you could say that my career path hasn’t been the most traditional! As much as I love training, I know that one day my body will say “enough is enough”. I knew that I wanted to work beyond the health and fitness industry but I had no idea what direction I wanted to go in.
All I knew was that I loved writing.
So, I started blogging and this helped me find myself. When I’m not training, I’m writing and catching up with collaborating with people in social media communities. I love connecting with people, hearing their stories, and translating these experiences into bite sized lessons for myself and others. This is how I met Alissa and founded BizGalz! – it’s been a whirlwind experience since last September when we launched.
My path is divided; I train by day and write by night. I guess I never believed that I was only made to do one thing. My path has always been guided by the things that make me happy and that challenge me to be a better person than I was yesterday.
I’ve always known that this was my path because it feels right (sorry for the cliché). The choices I’ve made have lead me to where I’m supposed to be. There’s no such thing as meaningless experience or wasted opportunity (even if they don’t turn out as planned). Everything we do is a lesson to be learned from and by making decisions with this in mind, I feel that my career has been incredibly fulfilling.
I’m inspired by all of the amazing people around me. I always recognise how lucky I am to have family, friends, and training partners that understand my vision. The one piece of advice that I would give readers is to always take note of the people that you spend most of your time with. Whether you like it or not, they will greatly influence your life and career. Choose your friends wisely and when you do find people that you just ‘click’ with, keep them close to you.
As a woman that spends a great deal of time in a very male dominated industry, I’ve had to overcome a lot of stereotypical depictions of women being weak. I’m one of two women in a group of 10 athletes – and spending so much time with men has genuinely made me more comfortable with expressing myself.
With my writing, I think that I have experienced being overlooked (but I can’t always say that that comes down to being a woman) and had to fight for my voice to be heard. I’m using my voice – defending it and asserting myself so that people listen. I think that men don’t have to fight as much as women do to be heard, so it’s important that women don’t give up. Struggle is a part of everyone’s journey. Own it. Wear the battle scars and then share your story with the world. That’s why I love writing; no matter where you are, the language that you speak, or what your background is, someone is waiting to listen to your story and be inspired by it.
I encourage everyone to share theirs.
Alissa Trumbull: I’ve been working for BTC Revolutions since October of last year. I got to pick my own title – Community Gardener. I do both community management and project management. Until a little over a year ago, I didn’t even know what this was. I was in a place of transition, having just left my teaching job. I was doing some freelance writing and graphic design. I was also spending a lot of my free time on Twitter, participating in chats and soaking up tons and tons of information. The material I was consuming was so interesting to me that I started to look into community management as a possible career move.
It wasn’t so much a moment where I realized I wanted to be a community manager, rather it was a moment where I realized I wanted to work for BTC. I already knew that I wanted to be doing something in the social media space when I met Amanda Hite, one of BTC’s co-founders. I came home from a #SocialRoadTrip meetup in Washington, D.C. in August and said, “I don’t totally know what this company does, but I know I want to be a part of it.” Every day I’m with BTC reaffirms that. We are an agency that does good – we work with brands interested in making a positive impact in the communities they serve.
We live the #BTCLife. What I do in my personal life is encouraged and supported by the people I work with, which makes me do better and strive for more in the projects I take on at work. My inspiration for life comes from everything around me, most notably the energy I get from the people I surround myself with. Jade herself, a shining example, is an incredible source of encouragement. We have a beautiful synergy for the work we do with #BizGalz. When one person has more going on at work or home and needs the other person to take on a task for them that week, it happens. We know that by working together we accomplish more.
The social media space certainly has its challenges. Facing trolls, beating the trends, staying relevant… these are things that come up, but are also part of what makes the work exciting. My dad always said, even if you are unsure, speak with a big voice and people will listen. This applies both to table meetings and presentations, formal and informal. Being able to project confidence even when I’m not feeling it, is a skill I have put a lot of practice into. The other side of that is taking the time to listen. The two together are an unbeatable pair. Do what makes you happy. It may sound trite, but it sure is the truth. I’ve worked in a number of industries – health, education, retail, food service, marketing – and have found that there are a lot of really unhappy people out there. Unfortunately, some of these individuals are in leadership positions, which means they may end up barking orders and writing people up instead of taking the time to listen to their employees who have lives outside of work that impact their performance on the job. I don’t want to be that angry person. Ever.
Take time to figure out what you want to do. It is really tempting to job hop when you’re unhappy. In the year between leaving my teaching job and starting with BTC, I applied to over 100 jobs. I think I really wanted maybe 5 of them. I’m so glad I didn’t end up taking a position with a company where I would have been unhappy. Take the time you need to educate yourself. Are you moving into a new industry? Learn the ins and outs of it. Take a class if you can. Meet with people in the industry and interview them. Decide if that’s really where you want to be, and then market yourself appropriately.
Yes, sexism exists. Yes, ageism exists. Yes, I have experienced both… more than once. I think a good question is: What can we do to show that as women we are qualified? The answer is to take the opportunities that are presented to us, and to create opportunities where there are none. We need to work with women and men for this to happen. This is not one against the other. We need to continue to show that we can, whatever that may be, and to continue to champion each other for the work that we are doing.
You can find more about BizGalz on their Twitter.